Thursday, June 7
It was a beautiful morning after yesterday’s storm.
LSU was scheduled to come out today, but between the weather report predicting rain and an 18-wheeler overturned on the Atchafalaya basin bridge of Interstate 10, they cancelled.
At 7:00, I took Timmy back to the dredge site to retrieve the airboat. He was expecting another group of visitors later today and wanted to clean it up and get it ready for use.
That left me on my own this morning. The water level in the pond was at 5 inches below marsh (-5” BM) when I took the pirogue to retie the pontoon. We had left the tow rope attached, but overnight I realized we always had two ropes to pull it side to side, so I went out to rearrange and add one before starting to dredge. On my way back to the canal, I noticed the lumber that had been unloaded yesterday still next to the canal, so restacked it all on top of the levee. With those things done, I headed back to the dredge.
It took about 30 minutes to get things ready. I was surprised by the amount of barnacles that had colonized the spuds since we last dredged almost 4 weeks ago. I scraped those off with a piece of 2×4.
Starting at 9:00, I dredged for 3 hours with no problems. Working the dredge with only one person is not difficult, but is not efficient either. The dredging process has to be paused while swapping spuds, refueling the water pump or even to get a drink of water. It was cooler than yesterday, and quite pleasant moving the barge back and forth across the canal.
I watched birds hauling nesting material back and forth past me, and one of our gators (probably Curious George) crossing the canal. A scoop of a minnow net I had brought proved the things jumping around the dredge were grass shrimp, and a number of 1-inch blue crabs paddled around the dredge floats.
At noon, I shut down the dredge. The weather forecast was for 40% chance of thunderstorms, and I couldn’t see the south horizon past the trees to see what might be looming. Plus, I wanted to see how the effluent was stacking in case we needed to move or adjust the outfall. 3 hours had moved a lot of material that showed the beginning of a delta around the outfall and fluid mud a quarter of Cell 3. However, the water level was still at -5” ML, and the plume of fluid mud was still moving and settling. We’ll keep the outfall at its current location until significant fill is detected.
I inspected the containment along the walkway and identified a few leaks that could be closed, but didn’t have any screws in my gear. I couldn’t see the south end of the containment, but there was a big plume in the south end of Cell 2 that could only have come from there.
I headed back to headquarters for lunch, and to get out of the heat. Timmy’s other group cancelled as well, so we watched radar as afternoon showers started blooming.
Around 4:00, between rainshowers, Timmy and I headed back to the dredge to put a float on the joint of the new section I had added last week so that the slack could be pushed into the canal.
I had remembered to bring screws to close up the gaps in our new containment where the water was escaping. There isn’t much room on LSU’s walkway, so it was a bit of a contortionist act for me to get enough leverage to put screws in and keep from falling off one side or the other!